Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pep Talk

My first passion is writing. My second is my day job. I work in a first grade classroom, helping a special needs child. My life is filled with funny comments, the gross, and the weird that only a five year old going on six can produce. It’s exhausting. It can be tedious. But it is oh so rewarding. There’s nothing like being out for a day and returning to have a child hug you around the hips (that’s as high as they can reach) and declare how much they missed you.

The other day was pumpkin day- a crazy mix of science, writing, and math standards with a whole lot of hectic. Separated into small groups, the teacher gave each group a pumpkin, paper to catch the mess, and a big spoon for those averse to using their hands. The object of this insanity being to remove all the seeds and count them. (Consider how long it takes a first grader to count to over one hundred or put seeds into piles of ten, and you’ll get an idea of why I’m tired every night.)

Did you know a kid’s first instinct for cleaning their hands of yuck is to shake them? Did you know that pumpkin goop flies when kids shake their hands? Pumpkin goop, of course, is inevitably attracted to the nearest available adult. That’s a scientific fact.

As I was hurrying from group to group, I noticed a boy holding his spoon in front of his face, staring intently at himself. His exact words, to himself please note, were: “Who’s the handsomest person?” The answer being obviously him. My first reaction was to choke off a giggle while looking to the other adult in the room to see if she caught it. She did. My second was to wonder that he used the word ‘person’. Odd choice for a five year old.

Later that night, I got to thinking about it again. He was just doing what we should all be doing, remembering to give himself positive words. As writers we all doubt ourselves. The agent rejections roll in by the dozens with approval small and far between. When we beta read for others, we’re usually focusing on the negative. What could be fixed or scraped.

In the hustle and bustle of life, don’t forget to give yourself a little pep talk of kind words. It’s the best advice I could give to anyone, writer or not. So who’s the most wonderful, talented writer? You are. And don’t forget it.

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